Thursday, Jan. 13, 2011 | 7:12 p.m.
Casting agents for the production company signed to deliver a 10-week reality TV series on The Real Housewives of Las Vegas are back here this week and next looking for the right free-wheeling glamor girls. It’s the second go-round to find the right candidates who will spice up the series with over-the-top luxury, provocative personalities and extravagant experiences.
The first go-round more than a year ago resulted in the project not getting a go-ahead. But Bravo is determined to find five Vegas vixens to make the show here as big a hit as the other Real Housewives series.
After finding the housewives, the producers will shoot casting tapes and interviews for the network mid-February to get a green light. “Good looks and personality will be everything for this show,” one of the casting agents said. Las Vegas will be a production by Pilgrim Films, whose shows include Ghost Hunters, The Ultimate Fighter, Dirty Jobs and American Casino.
*Dancing With the Stars professional dancer Tony Dovolani has joined forces with fellow 2011 Miss America Pageant judge Marilu Henner as a new Fred Astaire and Ginger Rogers to entertain the other five judges in their hospitality suite each night. Tony and Marilu are using the off-duty hours to teach dance classes to the panel! Don't be surprised if we see one of the former pageant winners on an upcoming DWTS. Execs arrive here tomorrow for Saturday’s live telecast on ABC.
Meantime, a snowstorm-trapped Phyllis George is doing everything in her power to fly from Atlanta to Las Vegas in time for tomorrow’s noon parade of Miss America winners at the Paris. “I’ll drive a snow plow myself if I have to,” she emailed to today’s Miss America luncheon at Neiman Marcus at Fashion Show.
*Bikini contestants arrived on The Strip today for tomorrow and Saturday’s Hawaiian Tropic Beauty Pageant at The Mirage. Hawaiian Tropic founder Ron Rice, who sold his suntan company two years ago to Playtex, is here to judge the contest and appear at a reunion winners and models party as a result of Playtex ending the pageant. Tonight’s welcome party is at The Mirage, and tomorrow night’s presentations are at Jet. The Perfect Tan Top 10 contest and winner presentation are Saturday at the St. Croix Ballroom.
*Zagat this week declared Las Vegas the most expensive restaurant city in America. The three Las Vegas food critics with a combined 40 years of experience here -- Al Mancini, John Curtas and Max Jacobson -- say that title may or may not be warranted. “Las Vegas also offers increasingly numerous opportunities for budget-conscious diners to enjoy world class cuisine at affordable prices,” they said. The authors of Click Eating Las Vegas: The 50 Essential Restaurants note that several high-end restaurants now offer inexpensive Happy Hour menus by celebrity chefs including Jose Andres, Julian Serrano, Hubert Keller, Alex Stratta and Joel Robuchon. In the book, seven of their choices feature eateries where a three-course meal with a cocktail costs less than $25.
*Sushi Samba Chef Oscar Toro of the Palazzo tomorrow gives fifth-graders at Gene Ward Elementary School hands-on experience preparing and cooking their own food. It’s part of first lady Michelle Obama’s call to get involved with local schools as part of the Chefs Move to Schools Initiative. Oscar has adopted the school to help educate kids about food and nutrition.
*Congratulations to Caesars Palace headliner Matt Goss, who has added a third night to his residency there. The British singer will now perform Sundays, in addition to Fridays and Saturdays. V Theater producer David Saxe is adding two shows to his Planet Hollywood Miracle Mile lineup. The first is Aussie Improv Comedy Explosion and Piano! Las Vegas with “The American King of Piano” Ryan Ahem. Both shows begin Jan. 31.
Pop princess Katy Perry and British comedy actor husband Russell Brand celebrated her grandmother’s 90th birthday with dinner at Strip House at Planet Hollywood. Actor James Gandolfini dined at Wolfgang Puck’s Spago at Caesars Palace’s Forum Shops last night. After dinner, James and his wife were front row for one of Cher’s final shows at The Colosseum.
Comedian and The Price Is Right host Drew Carey kicks off his Improv-a-Ganza at Hollywood Theater at MGM Grand, with dates through Feb. 6. Esteemed Editor Don Chareunsy posted an interview with Drew yesterday. Comic Rob Riggle is at The Playboy Club at the Palms for the next three nights.
We’ll have a full photo report of the third and final Miss America Pageant preliminaries as the hopefuls prepare for Saturday’s crowning on ABC, plus an inside look at the redesigned parade, of 46 winners and this year’s 53 candidates, that I’ll emcee at noon at the Arc de Triomphe at the Paris to celebrate its 90th anniversary. We’ll also wrap up our promised interviews with porn princesses Jessica Drake and Jenna Haze and have the weekend celebrity forecast of all the stars playing and performing here.
Robin Leach has been a journalist for more than 50 years and has spent the past decade giving readers the inside scoop on Las Vegas, the world’s premier platinum playground.
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